April 13, 2024
Church Planting, Islam, Book Reviews, Covenant Community, Evangelism

Critical Issues for the Cross-Cultural Church Planter

This summer I read The Messenger, The Message and the Community: Three Critical Issues for the Cross-cultural Church Planter by Roland Muller.  It was a read that was long overdue.  You see, the author is a friend of mine, and I have followed his ministry closely for about 25 years. About 14 years ago, as the first edition of some parts of this book was being written, Roland Muller asked me to read it and give some feedback.  To my regret, and with some degree of embarrassment now, I admit that I did not finish reading the manuscript, although I did give some thoughts on the part of the book that I did read.   As a result, the author used some of my graduate study research to support one of his arguments and somewhat undeservedly, included my name in the acknowledgments. About seven years later, Roland combined three books he… Read the whole post
Character, Spiritual Formation, Covenant Community

Community and Character

During the last 10 days, I have been in Japan, getting to know our SEND missionaries and their ministries in this beautiful, yet spiritually unresponsive country.   Over the years, I have heard much about the challenges and discouragements faced by our church planters here, but one thing I had not realized is the challenge of creating a real sense of “authentic community” within a Japanese church.   Japanese people are very committed to their work, and with long commutes to work and long hours at work, they often are only available for meetings on Sundays.    As a people, they are also committed to preserving the forms and conforming to the expectations of their culture.   They find it difficult to leave the safety of this prescribed tradition and truly become transparent with one another.   Even believers who share a bond in Christ struggle to get back the polite forms and to allow… Read the whole post
Covenant Community

Sabbath and The Covenant Community

As we seek to understand what it means for our mission team to be a covenant community, we need to go back to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.  Their identity as a people was grounded in their special covenant relationship with Yahweh.   The Lord God made some special promises to them (redemption from slavery, a land of their own flowing with milk and honey, etc), and made clear His expectations of His chosen people (no tolerance for hedging their bets with the competition, obedience to the Law, etc).   As a sign of their mutual covenant, God gave them the Sabbath, both as a distinguishing practice among the nations, and as a scheduled life “pause button”, enabling them to refocus their attention on their relationship as a covenant community with their God Because the Sabbath day was a sign of their covenant, the Israelites were to remember to… Read the whole post
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